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Soils: Let’s Dig In!

Grade/Unit3rd Grade Soil Layers
Standards3.L.2 Understand how plants survive in their environments.
3.L.2.4 Explain how the basic properties (texture and capacity to hold water) and components (sand, clay and humus) of soil determine the ability of soil to support the growth and survival of many plants.
3.L.2.4 Students know that different soils possess different textures and capacities for the retention of water and nutrients. Students know that soil consists of different components. Students know that these characteristics of soil influence the growth and survival of plants.
Science & Engineering Practices*Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering) 
*Planning and carrying out investigations 
*Analyzing and interpreting data 
*Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
*Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Lesson NotesThis lesson is formatted into a set of Google Slides, with drag and drop interactives, and videos of Amy Bowman and Doug Vernon (PHHI STEM Education) observing and discussing the content of the lesson. To utilize drag and drop interactives, make sure students are NOT in present mode.
Engage*Students view a variety of seemingly unrelated items and will be asked how they are all connected.
*Students will have a chance to answer the question and will then view the next video that connects all the items to soil.  
*Students will have a chance to make a few soil connections on their own.
Explore*Video on the components of soil (mineral matter, organic matter, water and air).
*Video exploring the different soil textures/particles
*Lab experiment separating soil (video and materials list and directions for at-home/school option).
*Interactive drag and drop soil particles and soil layers
Explanation*Analyze the results and discuss why the layers formed the way they did
-Can silt soil still contain sand and clay?
Elaborate*How does particle size/texture affect a soil’s ability to retain water?
*Water retention experiment
-Which type of soil retains the most water?(clay)
-Which type of soil provides the best drainage?(sand)
*Drag and drop activity
Evaluate and Extend*How does texture and water retention affect a soil’s ability to support plant life?
*Writing prompt